77-year-old man killed in Lake Zurich house explosion, fire identified by authorities

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, June 8, 2024
77-year-old man killed in Lake Zurich house explosion, fire ID'd
A Lake Zurich house explosion and fire killed 77-year-old man Timothy Toczylowski, who was identified by authorities Friday though dental records.

LAKE ZURICH, Ill. (WLS) -- The man who died after an explosion destroyed a home in Lake Zurich Tuesday night has been identified Friday, authorities said.

The Lake County coroner used dental records to identify the man as 77-year-old Timothy Toczylowski.

ABC7 Chicago is now streaming 24/7. Click here to watch

Firefighters received calls about an explosion at 23549 N. Overhill Road at about 8:28 p.m. Tuesday, the Lake Zurich Fire Department said.

"The flames were so intense that the trees were catching on fire," neighborhood resident Mark Schultz said. "I actually saw branches falling down on top of the firefighters' heads. It was a very dangerous situation."

Moments later, firefighters arrived to find the home engulfed in flames. They immediately worked to contain the fire while evacuating residents from nearby homes.

"Just like that, the house went up and a big boom then I ran," neighborhood resident Emanuel Hernandez said. "It was just a lot in one moment."

Firefighters initially struggled to extinguish the fire as there are no hydrants in the unincorporated neighborhood so they could not douse the blaze. Crews also had trouble shutting off the gas lines, as authorities said the gas meter was destroyed and crews had to wait for NICOR to dig up the natural gas line to turn the gas off and put out the flames.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office said Toczylowski's was recovered from the rubble.

"He's retired," neighbor Tiffany Koch said. "But really, he was kind of a loner. He was kind of all to himself."

"When my kids had school fundraisers we'd go door to door to neighbors," said neighbor Wil Juarez. "He was very nice. He was one of those guys who would buy every year and say come back next year."

Juarez said the homeowner lived alone and did not have children.

Ulises Hernandez's home security system captured the moment the explosion happened, sending his son and his friend who were playing outside running.

"They actually experiences the blast," Ulises Hernandez said. "One of the neighbor's child was thrown off and then it shows where the fire, the blast appears in the actual footage."

People living all along the block said they felt their homes shake from the explosion, though initially they had no idea what it was. Koch said the blast even knocked some things off the wall of her home.

"It was close and to not know what it was, I think that was the scariest part we didn't know what was going on," she said.

Chopper7 was over the scene of the home that was leveled by the explosion. Investigators are on site trying to figure how the house blew up.

"They don't want to like pigeonhole or lock on to one thing without looking at everything," Lake Zurich Fire Chief David Pilgard.

All of the neighbors were accounted for and no firefighters were injured.